The Hobo and The Ghetto
Each of these projects grew out of its author's biography. Before he became a student of sociology, Nels Anderson had traveled the country as a hobo. Then, in graduate school he studied the kind of men he had known when he was on the rails and on the road. In his research he made extensive use of the life history method. The Hobo was the first monograph published in the University of Chicago Sociological Series, a cooperative venture between the University's Local Community Research Committee and the University of Chicago Press.
Born in Germany, Louis Wirth came to the United States in 1911, at the age of fourteen. After completing high school in Omaha, Nebraska, Wirth came to the University of Chicago for his undergraduate and graduate education. A Jewish immigrant himself, he studied Chicago's Jewish immigrant community and used it as the basis for his dissertation, "The Ghetto." He received his Ph.D. in 1926, and the book was published in 1928 in the same series as Nels Anderson's.
After receiving his Ph.D., Wirth taught for a year at Tulane University. The University of Chicago appointed him to its Department of Sociology faculty in 1928, and he had an illustrious career in Chicago as a productive teacher and scholar. He served as president of the American Sociological Association and the International Sociological Association.